Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Softball Update

Blind Confusion finished out another season, with somewhat disappointing results. We ended up fifth in our division, robbing us of a chance for the playoffs. For the summer and fall season, I have taken on a new team and a new responsibility coaching.

One of the Emergency Response Team members sent out an email shortly before the summer season asking if anyone would want to play in a Wednesday early-evening league. As to be expected with such a wonderful sport as softball, there was ample interest. Thus was formed the ERT softball team.

The team was put together by a very enthusiastic individual, but she lacked the in-depth knowledge of the game to coach. She asked for volunteers, and I stepped up. I assess the players, decide what positions they play, decide on batting order, and help them build their skills and knowledge of the game. It's a pretty daunting task for one person.

Coaching has given me a new perspective on the game and on managing people. I have to admit it is much more difficult than I had anticipated. Having so many people with varied preferences, and keeping them all happy, is a difficult task indeed. I have one player who is just excellent at both infield and outfield. I kept putting him in the outfield because I needed his talent there, but he decided he preferred the infield, and was very vocal in declaring this. I had no choice but to do what made him happy. To do otherwise would be counter-productive.

We didn't win any games in our first season together this summer. However, I was absolutely delighted at the constant optimism and enthusiasm from every member of the team. It was such a refreshing change from my Tuesday team, whose members tend to become frustrated and impatient when things don't go their way. I hate to admit it, but I had way more fun on the new Wednesday team than I did on the Tuesday team.

This fall provided another challenge for the ERT. I had 4 first baseman, one pitcher that could only make half the games, and no shortstops. A coaching nightmare ! I solved the problem by grooming one of our infielders (who normally played second base) as a shortstop. He is doing remarkably well in his new position. I've trained one backup pitcher, and another pitcher has come out of the woodwork. (He never told me he pitched before !) First base, and other popular positions, are shared between those who prefer them. And I'm not afraid to try people in new positions. They love it, and I see it as a learning and building experience for them. It's very satisfying.

The ERT won three games this fall season. I am absolutely positive that more wins are on the horizon. Of course, winning isn't everything, but it does make it a little bit more fun. :)

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